In late 2008, ABC-owned station WPVI Philadelphia selected The Systems Group (TSG) as one of its principle allies to help the station consult on, design, plan and implement a highly-effective file-based HD news, production and broadcast distribution workflow. The new station is an all-digital, HD facility that is now fully operational with its core infrastructure designed around an array of cutting-edge technology, including a variety of equipment from Grass Valley, Vizrt, Florical, Evertz and others.
WPVI was one of the country’s first pioneering broadcast newsrooms to fully convert to HD back in 2006. Its goal for the newly upgraded facility was to streamline newscasts, broadcast productions and programming all in native HD around an integrated, file-based system. Another key goal was to design its facility around a flexible and efficient production and distribution infrastructure to support multiple streams of content.
The benefits of moving away from a tape-centric legacy system to a file-based workflow (from traffic all the way to play-to-air) were considerable for WPVI. The transition to a file-based workflow offered the station benefits such as content accessibility across all departments, facilitating sharing among them, and providing them with a seamless process from acquisition to transmission.
WPVI’s challenge was to keep the existing facility on the air as the station migrated the systems over to the new building, continue to share content between the new and old facility, and conduct a phased cut over.
The new facility gave the station the opportunity to install all new base systems, with new master control, automation, server-based capture and playout, editing systems, and graphics. The daily file-based newscast backbone is designed around a Grass Valley SAN featuring mirrored K2 Summit HD servers, as well as the Aurora HD news production software platform, Aurora edit, and EDIUS nonlinear editing workstations. For news production, WPVI is utilizing the Ignite HD integrated production system driving Kayak HD production switchers. The creative services and local programming departments edit using Mac-based Final Cut Pro systems. For field acquisition, the station is using Panasonic P2 gear.
In master control, WPVI uses Evertz master control switchers with graphics created on a Vizrt on-air graphics platform, and all master control devices are under the control of Florical automation. A Grass Valley K2 content server farm and BaseCamp browse system is integrated with the Pathfire Digital Media Gateway system.
The facility’s baseband HD signal management is based on a Grass Valley Trinix 512 routing switcher. The IT infrastructure handled the file transfer of media on fiber around the facility.
Creative engineering, thorough planning and strong project management have made the transition for WPVI an extremely smooth one. The station boosts a technologically advanced broadcast facility with enhanced workflow and content handling.
New studio or RF technology – station
Submitted by The Systems Group
The Systems Group: Paul Rogo, proj. mgr.; Scott Griffin, PE; John Zulick, PE; Christian Dam, PE; Craig Tabler, installation supervisor/site mgr.
WPVI: Stuart Loberg, dir. of eng.; Hank Volpe, VP eng.;
Technology at work
Apple: Final Cut Pro editing
Evertz: Modular gear, multiviewers, QMC master control
Grass Valley: Aurora news production sys., EDIUS nonlinear editing, Ignite integrated production sys., K2 servers, Trinix routing switchers